THE FOLLOWING WAS TAKEN FROM THE JULY NEWSLETTER
Okay, if we rewind 3 years and like 3-4 days, this was me pictured below. Having a bit of a white-man-can’t-jump moment out the front of the television production company.
This office was Fremantle Australia in Sydney - interestingly they have rebranded since, which was great as their existing identity was so dated. Anyways, I walked out the doors of a 7-years-to-the-day job that I never once walked into thinking “ugh, I’ve gotta go to work”. It was a great and supportive workplace that let me flex my creativity and engage with a ridiculously wide gamut of people. All the way from Mel B from the Spice Girls, to the teams at Disney, Volkswagen, Jetstar and to our accounts team where I met my wife, Sam. While we both worked at Fremantle, Sam and I got married, had a baby, then at the end of 2017 I said to Sam that I wanted to start my own business and that we maybe run it together. To which she basically said, “do you know what you’re doing?” and I honestly said “Nope”. But I knew I’d figure it out. *Narrator that sounds like Morgan Freeman but isn’t for copyright reasons* “He’s still figuring it out” With that said, in 6 months I knuckled down in between work hours to understand a little bit of business acumen - especially in the design space from places like The Futur, books and other online resources. I learnt to understand as best I could what I had to do financially and legally - which meant working with an accountant and a lawyer < FFS, if you haven’t spoken with these kinds of people already, they are gonna be your lifelines in business. Now fast forward back to Friday, June 29. It was the day I walked out the doors of Fremantle and doing my little jump in the air. Come Monday, July 2, G’day Frank started business. Just a team of me and my wife as a partnership. Both in business and matrimony, working with businesses to elevate their position in their market and in customers minds with great branding was where it was at. Those first 6 months though were fucking mental. I doubt if I remember how I got everything I needed to do done, but I’d equalled my salary in revenue by Christmas. Everything from invoicing, bookkeeping, expense tracking, subscriptions to Google, to Adobe and two different insurance policies (again, don’t sleep on that either), two different bank accounts, client emails, client calls, proposals, contracts, chasing up payments. Then to top it all off we moved away from Sydney, 1.5hrs west to the Blue Mountains, changed our business structure in there at some point from a Partnership to a Company… and this was all before I started creating content, let alone doing actual design work that felt like 10% of my day. In addition to working from home with 1 kid and then bringing another one into the world halfway through that. So basically, lots going on. But you know what, I freakin loved it. However, now the rose coloured glasses of enthusiasm for business has worn off to the point where some days I’ve wanted to cry. Others have had me so stressed my mouth has been full of ulcers. While other days, like the day my revenue crossed 6 figures in the first 8 months of business produced a really odd feeling of accomplishment. I remember Peter McKinnon (a YouTuber that inspires a heap of my creativity and personality) once said in one of his videos that when he crossed 50k or 100k subscribers…I can’t remember which it was exactly. That he stood in his little home office, poured himself a shot of whiskey at like 11 o’clock in the morning as a little pat on the back to himself. And when I saw this I thought, shit, I should totally have done something cool like that at least. Instead, I just stood looking out our back glass door and thought, "Well, that’s what that feels like, huh”. Better just keep on trucking - like Forrest Gump after he decides to stop running across America. Since then it’s felt like a bit of a rat race, an uphill battle, a challenge, a struggle and gut-wrencher and a stress inducer. But don’t get me wrong - and this is the crazy part. Running my own business has also been inspiring, motivating, humbling, amazing, loving, high-fiving, taught me gratitude, given me patience, connected me with a heap of new people around the world, encouraged me to trust my process and follow my gut. The key is you just gotta keep up the pace and it shows that running your own business is not for everyone. In that time since walking out the doors of my former workplace, I’ve tackled 3 podcast shows and featured as a guest on others. I’ve created 2 websites for myself (with countless updates). Produced over 700 bits of original content posts on Instagram and LinkedIn. Started a community of fellow creatives. Worked with nearly 50 clients. Done 5 speaking gigs… and a partridge in a pear tree. So I’ll say this in a way of answering the question I’ve asked myself at the start as to, “What have I learnt in 3 years?” Here are 10 things: 1. The wave of those who come to you at the start when you start your business will drop off real quick. So you gotta be actively approaching people and putting yourself out there, where ever you can and do it consistently. 2. Keep your business as simple as possible. I’ve now changed my business structure 3 times as of today to make it less of a focus on my time, energy and money. 3. Connecting with your peers or competitors is not detrimental to your business. Which at first I totally thought it would be. Creating relationships with those people actually might lead to collaboration, referrals or even just a good friend to compare notes with and bitch about things with. PS. Thank you if you’re one of those people in my life. 4. Your personal brand will enhance your business brand - even if you’re business name is not your own name. Remember that people deal with people and if you can put a face, voice and personality to the name of your business, you’re allowing those who want to work with you to build trust from your supporting identity. 5. Don’t underestimate the voice you have and what you have to say. You don’t have to be a thought leader, but you can be a thought contributor. Because what I’ve found is that by voicing your opinions and views of what it is you do, the more you get a grasp on those concepts and maybe even form your own unique approach, definitions or mindset. Which in turn you’ll become known for. 6. A confident and positive mindset is needed to keep going - my philosophy has always been that things will always work out. Though trusting that to be true is the challenge, which comes back to the mindset you have. 7. Shit happens - the bumper sticker is 100% right. People cancel on you, you cancel on others, pandemics come out of nowhere. Whatever it is, being able to adapt or pivot from shitty situations is gonna make or break you. So I found it to be a case of just ‘embrace and pivot’ by trusting my gut. 8. Have a support network of people to talk to. It could be your family or friends. It could be professional help or groups/people in your industry. Talking over time solves those mental battles and business problems…trust me on this one. Especially when it comes to imposter syndrome, financial problems, client/customer problems. The works. 9. Give back where you can. One of my recent clients gives 2% of their profits to charity. Now I’m not saying give back financially. But instead, you can offer your knowledge, advice, mentorship or passive guidance to others that do what you do, need what you offer or want to learn how you do what you do best so they can help others and create change in your industry. Especially if you were given invaluable advice when you started out. 10. Be kind to yourself. Just do it, like Nike says. I’m always trying to remember this. Anyways, here’s to another 3 years of being here with you!